Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

When Robots are Expensive and Humans are Not [Video]

· · Link

Factory robot

Friday’s Particle Debris pointed to a video by Boston Dynamics of its Atlas robot doing backflips. Sure, that might look impressive, but as robots get better at physical tasks, they’ll also become more expensive. Maybe they won’t replace human labor any time soon, simply augment it in tough situations. A mixed workforce. The linked video provides food for thought.

TMO Background Mode Interview With Mac Observer's Editor-in-Chief Bryan Chaffin

· · Background Mode Podcast

Bryan Chaffin

Bryan Chaffin is the Editor-in-Chief of The Mac Observer. He was born and raised in Texas, and it was in Austin where he met Dave Hamilton. In 1997, Bryan was writing for a website named Webintosh. Later, Bryan bought a half-intest in the publication. Soon he realized he needed someone to run the business side of the website, so he sold his half to Dave Hamilton and they rebranded it as The Mac Observer, launching on December 28, 1998. We reminisced about how an invitation from Bryan led to my first article at the Mac Observer in October, 1999. In the second segment, we chatted about two of Bryan’s notable, recent articles, iPhone encryption and Apple’s tax situation. We finished with a discussion of Bryan’s books, both technical and science fiction. Great stuff.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Tidbits Managing Editor Josh Centers

· · Background Mode Podcast

Josh Centers

Josh Centers is the Managing Editor of He was born and raised in Tennessee except for college years in Kentucky. He always thought he’d leave Tennessee someday and move to California, but it turned out that the people he ended up working with had come from California, so he stayed. Josh grew up loving Macworld, MacWeek and Macaddict, but his favorite was TheNet. Early on, he developed a sense that he’d someday write about tech for a living. In the second segment, we talked about some of the popular Apple topics, ordering an iPhone X at 0200 in the morning, the Mac mini, ARM processors for Macs, the coming Mac Pro, MacBook Pro keyboards, the Apple TV struggles, the Amazon Firestick and Kodi. We had a heck of a good time.

TMO Background Mode Interview with GraphicConverter Creator Thorsten Lemke

· · Background Mode Podcast

Thorsten Lemke on Background Mode.

Thorsten Lemke is the founder of Lemke Software and the creator of the Mac app called GraphicConverter. This app is now used by over 1.5 million customers worldwide. I asked Thorsten about his early years when he was learning Pascal and BASIC on his Commodore C64 and later Atari ST. Thorsten wasn’t sure what he wanted to pursue in high school, but he knew it would be technical. Then, around 1992, with his new Mac, he had a need to convert photos and clipart between file formats. After a lot of file format research, the simple GraphicConverter app on Mac OS 7 was born as shareware. Little did Thorsten know at the time how this Mac app would grow into a major application today. Thorsten tells the amazing story of his career as an Apple developer.